Updated: December 24, 2011 8:21AM
If Tony Rezko is to spend 10 ½ years behind bars, does that mean Rod Blagojevich will be looking over the side of a cliff at his Dec. 6 sentencing?
“I’d be surprised if Judge [James] Zagel goes below the bar. The bar was set today,” former prosecutor Jeff Cramer said of Rezko’s Tuesday sentence. “You’d reasonably have to say 12-15 years,” for Blagojevich now.
Former federal prosecutor Sergio Acosta said there’s nothing forcing a judge to sentence someone higher in the same scheme to more time in prison. But: “There is a general preference in the law that courts will look at defendants’ respective roles in the offense,” Acosta said. “The higher the role a defendant plays, the more severe the punishment.”
Prosecutors have put Blagojevich’s range at 30 years to life, but next week will publicly make a recommendation. Experts previously said the ex-governor is likely looking at 10 to 12 years. Blagojevich’s lawyers have said they would ask for probation.
— Natasha Korecki